Visit to a Small Planet Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Powers claim he needs sixteen copies of from Kreton?

2. Who is the author of the book Conrad chooses for Ellen?

3. For whom does Kreton note the fighting is for, at the end of his attempt to rouse Conrad?

4. Why does the aide think Powers hates him?

5. What does Kreton tell Ellen his race does not do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the play, Kreton is treated by the government as property, and told he is to function as a weapon. However, Kreton admits he is a mammal, for all intensive purposes, and it is clear he is a living, thinking individual.

Part 1. Discuss how Kreton's ability to limit his emotions could help him function as a weapon of the United States. Conversely, without emotion, discuss how Kreton could function against his purpose as a weapon. Be sure to use elements of Kreton's personality as presented in the play in your answer.

Part 2. Do you think the use of a living, thinking mammal as a possession and a weapon is a moral thing to do? Why or why not? Be sure to include elements of the play in your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel, Vidal suggests, through Kreton, that mankind is savage, violent, blood thirsty, and always ready for war. Do you think this is true? Why or why not? Based on the characters presented in the novel, do you believe Vidal portrayed his characters to agree or disagree with this notion? Why? Which characters represent an affinity for war, and which represent opposition to war? Why? Is Kreton correct in his assumptions, based on the character's actions, that humans are blood thirsty? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

One of the themes that runs through the play is the infatuation of the characters with sex. Ellen, Conrad, Reba, and the aide all think at various times in the novel of sex and sexual relations. Vidal seems to use the play to explore the attitudes of Americans in the time period toward sex.

Choose one of the following options and address/discuss the questions:

1. Give several examples of what the characters in the play think of sex. Is it portrayed as a method of procreation, or an enjoyable pastime? What are the symbolic links presented? Why are these important?

2. Ellen notes that sex is a taboo subject, although is it always on the mind. Kreton notes the oddity of sex as taboo while violence is widespread. What do you think of that argument? Is Kreton right? Why do we treat these subjects as we do? What makes sex so taboo?

3. The concept of sex has drastically changed since the writing of the play. Compare and contrast the concept of sex as it was in the 1950s to current notions. What are similarities? What are differences? What caused the shift in perspective?

(see the answer keys)

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